Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Sheep Team.

Vibrant colors.

Mike Manzoori, Ed Templeton, and Frank Hirata were the initial pros to switch over to Sheep. Laban Pheidias was on the team, but I want to say he wasn't on for very long before he left for Reef.

I watched Dream Reality last night, the 1997 video from Physics Wheels. Mike straight up shredded everything.

Note: Laban's ad was already on here.

Mike: Transworld - September 1996 Volume 14 Number 9

Ed: Transworld - October 1996 Volume 14 Number 10

Frank: Transworld - November 1996 Volume 14 Number 11

Monday, March 30, 2015


Better than a flock of seagulls.

Sheep was started in the spring of 1996 by Sole Technologies. The initial team was Ed Templeton, Laban Pheidias, and Mike Manzoori. Frank Hirata was added shortly. Sheep was around until early 1998. In their two years of existence, Brian Anderson, Matt Field, Rick McCrank, Sergei Trudnowski, and Charlie Wilkins also rode for them.

Sheep was notable for making synthetic and vegan friendly shoes. Their ads were colorful and a little less serious without being overly silly. I liked what they were doing. Within the last couple years there supposedly was a reissue of the Merino model, but I don't think that went anywhere. Incidentally, Merino are a type of sheep that are good producers of wool.

Who did the art and logo for Sheep? Some of the later ads look like they could be Ed Templeton's doing, yet they aren't quite the same as something he would do.

It's going to be a Sheep blowout for the week. I got carried away and scanned in most of their better ads so it will be a little more content than usual.

First ad (top): Transworld - April 1996 Volume 14 Number 4

Team ad (bottom): Transworld - August 1996 Volume 14 Number 8

Friday, March 27, 2015

The G-Bag.

This thing is the main reason I decided to spend another week looking at the free thinking inventors of the skateboard world.

A flock of Sheep next week.

Rick Kosick took the photos.

Transworld - December 2000 Volume 18 Number 12

Product Review: Big Brother - January 2001 Number 68

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Misunderstood Trucks #2.

If you weren't feeling what Indy or Venture provided as a way to hold the wheels on your board, several other companies stepped to the plate to give you a number of options.

Jones came up with an unusual square design that changed the location of the kingpin. Future Birdhouse am Jon Goemann was down to give them a try. In looking at those trucks, I'm not sure which is the right way to put them on a board.

Titanium is a material that gets tinkered with from time to time. For as much theoretical promise as it offers since it is a lighter and stronger metal, nothing seems to pan out and skateboarding sticks to the same old aluminum. Titans were lighter than regular trucks and came in a variety of colors. They were good enough to earn the endorsement of former H-Streeter Dave Nelson.

Webb Trucks by Omega were basically a normal truck design with some space shaved out of the hanger to reduce weight, which gave them a web like appearance. Frankie Hill and Anthony Carney rode for them. A young Billy Marks also rode for them. This is the ad that caught Ed Templeton's eye and led to Billy eventually getting on Toy Machine.

Tensor is Rodney Mullen's project to create the perfect truck for technical street skating. His idea was to design a truck that was stable to give you more control for switch and flip tricks. They came with a replaceable plastic slider to help your nose and tail slide game. Tensor is still going today, but they have ditched the plastic sliders for a more traditional looking baseplate.

Finally, there is the Kre-Per by Grind King. They opted for a goth inspired design with skulls and a batwing like shape.

The Jones ad design is by Jeff Tarr and the photo by Christophe. (A typo maybe?) Mike Peralta snapped the photos for Titan Trucks. The Billy Marks sequence is by Joey Shigeo. Seu Trinh took the pictures of James Craig.

Jones Trucks: Transworld - November 1998 Volume 16 Number 11

Titan: Slap - March 1999 Volume 8 Number 3

Webb: Slap - August 2000 Volume 9 Number 8

Tensor: Transworld - March 2000 Volume 18 Number 3

Kre-per: Thrasher - December 2000 Volume 20 Number 12

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bolts #2.

The ongoing war on the screwdriver.

Here is a sampling of bolt options from the later half of the 1990s.

Shorty's came up with Silverados, which featured two silver bolts that you could put at the front of your board to help tell the difference between the nose and tail. Lucky also had hardware that came with a single green bolt to serve the same purpose.

The company that brought you Bridge Bolts created Nutlocks. The little device held the nut in place so you didn't need a wrench to tighten the bolt. This one is a decent idea in all honesty.

Expedition crafted decks with the mounting hardware built into the board. I remember seeing at least one of these boards back then. I thought the bolts were attached to the board, but the photo suggests the nut is what was imbedded in the plies.

Randoms kept the Thunderbolt idea alive with an assortment of cute characters to pound into the top of your board. Randoms upgraded to a more streamlined and punk rock looking design in the years ahead. They even put together a team with some guys who were ams for Black Label and Foundation.

Silverados: Thrasher - April 1996 Volume 16 Number 4

Nutlocks: Transworld - December 1997 Volume 15 Number 12

Inerlock: Slap - September 1999 Volume 8 Number 9

Randoms: Slap - October 1999 Volume 8 Number 10

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fancy Griptape.

Put a little color on your ride.

Santa Cruz came up with a way to put graphics in griptape in the late 1990s. This seemed a little distracting to me and didn't seem like something that would catch on. However, companies such as Grizzly Grip, Mob, and Shake Junt are cranking out griptape with artwork and the pros are riding it so I'm thinking it is here to stay. Or at least until skateboarding decides that it isn't cool.

Colored griptape has been around a long time, but I always thought the different colors did not grip as well as the all black kind. I remember a friend had the new Tony Hawk Claw with lime green griptape and that was just an odd combination. Negative One stepped up the game and made a better gripping alternative. Kristian Svitak rides for them and kept the 80s spirit alive by riding boards with colorful tape art in Black Label's Black Out video from 2003.

My personal preference is black griptape in two pieces with a thin line in front of the back truck. A skateboard has to look fast and not be visually confusing. I always liked the drawings that Mark Gonzales and Sean Sheffey would do, but whenever I would try to draw something I would end up not liking it. I have long since given up on having any sort of art or design on the top of my skateboard. It's one thing if you are a pro and can change your board whenever, but most of us are stuck with the same board for at least a couple of months. There's no sense in being bummed out every time you go skating by a stupid drawing.

I swear somebody, possibly even Negative One, was making colored griptape in the late 1990s, but I could not find an ad. I spent most of Sunday afternoon rummaging around the stacks and eventually found the Mike V. ad once I expanded the time frame I was looking in.

Lance Dalgart took the photo of Aaron and Matt Mercaro took the photo of Mike.

Roofies: Big Brother - October 1998 Issue 41

Negative One: Thrasher - August 2004 Volume 24 Number 8

Monday, March 23, 2015

Metal Decks.

Metal Machine Music.

Vert Is Dead is going to spend another week looking at inventors and companies that pushed the design envelope in ways to improve the skateboard. I went mostly with things from the late 1990s since at that point skateboarding's popularity was increasing and attracting more people. And free thinkers.

The one minor flaw with the wooden skateboard is that the deck wears out. A possible way to fix this problem is to replace the wood with metal. This is a concept that has been kicked around over the years without a feasible solution. Aircraft opted for a shape that resembled a popsicle deck as well as an early 1980s deck with cutaways. I believe the black guard on the nose and tail are replaceable skid plates so you can change them once they are too worn down. I cannot recall if I ever saw an Aircraft deck in real life.

On the other hand, Lars Tetens took the basic skateboard shape and added speed holes to it. The idea of taking something that can be hard to ride and removing surface area does not seem like a good one. Lars does get a few bonus points for being fashion forward enough to create a kilt with cargo pockets. He also slips in a promotion for either his or his friends' band. Ah, the 1990s. Of all the years, these were ten of them.

The Aircraft photos are possibly by Steve Sherman.

Aircraft: Slap - January 1999 Volume 8 Number 1

Lars Tetens: Slap - December 1998 Volume 7 Number 12

Friday, March 20, 2015

Arto Saari #2.

Rock & Roll Suicide.

Arto survived major head trauma to deliver the closing two David Bowie song part in Sorry. He was rewarded with Thrasher's SOTY for his efforts. He rode for Platinum before Flip and left for a stint on Alien Workshop from 2008 to 2011. Arto battled out a part in the Workshop's Mindfield video in 2009. These days he is still pro for Flip as well as taking a lot of photos for the mags and ads.

The photo for the Active ad is by Pete Thompson.

Bubblegum Punk: Thrasher - January 2001 Volume 21 Number 1

Active: Thrasher - April 2002 Volume 22 Number 4

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tom Penny #3.

Velvet Underground.

There was a whole lot of mystery concerning what footage Tom would have in Sorry. After a run in the mid to late 1990s tearing up all the spots around California, he vanished to parts unknown. It turns out he was living in France and skating a mini ramp in a barn. There would be stories of Tom sightings or rumors about things he did, which only added to his mystique. Skateboarding seems to love guys who shred and then disappear without a trace. If the internet existed back then as it does now, none of this would have happened. We wouldn't have the rumors of how when éS requested an idea for a pro shoe he sent them an old and smelly Timberland boot to work from or that he kept skating a mini ramp at party in total darkness after the lights were turned off.

Tom's part in Sorry opens up with him skating his mini ramp in France. He throws down the expected kickflips and whatnot. After that short segment, the video jumps to an intro for Arto Saari's part where Arto is lying at the bottom of a handrail after a harsh slam. This transitions from Arto in the hospital to a trippy full section of new footage of Tom on the streets. He is mostly skating in Europe and England with a line at Belmont in California. The line was the last thing filmed just before the premiere.

Tom is doing a nollie backside 180 in the TSA ad. The photo is by Julien Deniau.

Video grab: Thrasher - September 2002 Volume 22 Number 9

TSA: Transworld - January 2002 Volume 20 Number 1

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rune Glifberg #4.

Oververt and no pads.

Rune is from Copenhagen, Denmark. Rune and Andy Scott made up the vert half of the original Flip team. He's basically street skating on the big ramps and does a lot of flip tricks without grabbing. Unlike some of the vert guys with their elaborate ramp setups, Rune sticks to the more traditional halfpipes, pools, and parks. What he is doing feels like a more refined form of progression instead of stuntman work. His part in Sorry was really good and might be the best section from the video. Rune is also still going at the age of forty and recently had a part for the Berrics where he tore up his local park in Fælledparken.

Speaking of the Skateboard Mag, the new issue has full paragraph captions to go with each skateboarder in a section on hobbies. Baby steps, guys, baby steps. There are sweet photos of Lance Mountain and Max Schaaf.

I pushed around in the street last night for about fifteen minutes. I did the same on Sunday, too. It's feeling good to get back to rolling after the subzero winter we had.

Video grab: Thrasher - July 2002 Volume 22 Number 7

Diakka: Big Brother - January 2002 Number 80

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Geoff Rowley #4.

Big game hunter.

Heshman: Thrasher - November 2001 Volume 21 Number 11

Ricta: Thrasher - April 2001 Volume 21 Number 4

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bastien Salabanzi.

Never missed a trick.

Bastien is from Toulon, France. He was the little kid on the team who could land anything within a couple of tries. His part in Sorry featured a lot of flawless technical skating with kickflips into handrails. Bastien turned pro for Flip, won some contests, and then kind of disappeared. He resurfaced occasionally here and there for a contest or riding for Jart Skateboards. It was recently announced that Bastien is riding for Paul Rodriguez's Primitive Skateboards.

Super Fly: Thrasher - January 2002 Volume 22 Number 1

Diamond: Thrasher - February 2002 Volume 22 Number 2

Friday, March 13, 2015

Alex Chalmers.

Let's go get Cokes.

Alex is an excessive soda drinker from Vancouver, British Columbia. He shredded around assorted parks and hit up the streets for his part in Sorry while skating to The Faction. He also was working as a movie stuntman at the time. I'm guessing he is still skating and being a stuntman. Other past sponsors have included Hawk Shoes by Adio, Sessions, and Este.

I don't like to mention the future for this site when I'm in the middle of something, but Gimmick Week II: The Late 1990s is shaping up nicely.

The action photo is by Rick Kosick.

Cokes: Thrasher - November 2002 Volume 22 Number 11

Frontside 180: Big Brother - December 2001 Number 79

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ali Boulala.

Burn No Bridges.

Ali is from Stockholm, Sweden. He was more or less your normal skate rat until he came to the states and started hanging out with what would become the Baker team in the late 1990s. The crew included Jim Greco, Andrew Reynolds, Shane Heyl, Dustin Dollin, and a whole bunch more. Ali and Jim started rocking gear inspired by Johnny Thunders and early punk rock. The pants got tighter and leather jackets became a prominent fashion item. Depending upon your outlook on things, this either evolved or devolved into outfits that vaguely resembled something a pirate might wear.

Of note in his part for Sorry are Ali's two tries at jumping down a massive set of 25 stairs. He was not successful. Otherwise his part has a lot of scary drop ins and big gaps. He also displays some good technical board control and bangs out a few smooth switch lines.

Unfortunately, there is a sad side to Ali's story. The crew was partying a lot as young men with disposable income are prone to do. As time went on this started to include harder drugs and more booze. In 2007, Ali was involved in a motorcycle accident that claimed the life of Shane Cross. Ali was driving the bike and crashed into a wall with Shane as a passenger. Both had been drinking prior to the accident. Shane was a talented young skater from Gold Coast in Australia who was starting to find fame in the US. Ali sustained serious injuries from the crash and was in a coma for a few months. He was subsequently sentenced to prison time for his actions. He served two years and was released in 2010. Flip kept his board in production the entire time and he is currently listed as still being on the team. I don't think we've seen much from Ali as of late and given all that he has been through, that makes sense.


Note: One thing I noticed about Sorry was that everybody was wearing beefy shoes. Even the pirate was rocking some big Circas or Vans, which looked a little odd with his form fitting trousers.

Ready Yet: Thrasher - March 2002 Volume 22 Number 3

Sex, Drugs & Rock n' Roll: Thrasher - April 2002 Volume 22 Number 4

Independent: Thrasher - July 2001 Volume 21 Number 7

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mark Appleyard #2.


Vert Is Dead is going to take a look at the cast of characters from Flip's Sorry video. Sorry was released in 2002. It was Flip's first video and showcased the entire pro team. The principal filmer was Fred Mortagne. French Fred used a lot of panning and long lens type shots to give the video a unique look over the usual stick the fisheye right up close to the skater method that was and is still popular. This makes for a more relaxed viewing experience and gives you a better sense of the overall spot. The soundtrack covers a range from classic punk, hip hop, modern rock, and David Bowie.

Sorry was a big deal at the time, especially given the team involved. Geoff Rowley, Arto Saari, and Mark Appleyard all won Thrasher's SOTY award either before or because of this video. More or less. There were also parts from disappearing legend Tom Penny and the polarizing Ali Boulala. It introduced Bastien Salabanzi and Alex Chalmers to the pro ranks. Rune Glifberg delivered a lot of vertical abuse in a part that was filmed in just four months.

Flip hired the services of Johnny "Rotten" Lydon to do the introductions for each part. I watched Sorry over the weekend and Johnny's parts hold up as funny.

There's no denying that this is a great video, but it comes up a little short for me. Sorry isn't something I would pop in the VCR if I wanted to watch skateboarding. There's not anything particularly flawed with it, just the combination of everything doesn't register for me. Part of that might come from Flip's image. For as ripping a team they have, the company can be a little all over the place with the graphics and ads.


Mark had been riding for Habitat before switching to Flip. He turned pro for them in 2001 and won SOTY in 2003. Mark was part of the team at Circa and enjoyed a pro model shoe during that company's Chad Muska fueled heyday. He left for Element in 2010 and is still shredding with the planet.

Since Flip ran many a chilling ad, I paired each with a skating picture as well.

Daniel Harold Sturt took the photo in the Flip ad.

Pressure's On: Thrasher - March 2001 Volume 21 Number 3

Ricta: Thrasher - July 2002 Volume 22 Number 7

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gino Perez.

Two for Tuesday.

"He lives in Highland Park but says he hates it. As far as his skating goes and not just because he rides for 60/40, I think he has the most unique style in skateboarding today. He has a habit of forgetting which way he skates. In other words, no matter which way he's going, he's always in control. Skaters he looks up to are Eric Koston, Lance Mountain, and Chaonga Mota. Gino Perez - big shouts out to my foes." - Mark Gonzales

The trick list ad is the reason I decided to do a Sixty Forty week to begin with. It seems like an odd thing to do, but at the same time when Gonz is involved with something, the normal rules don't always apply.

Lance Mountain took the switch hardflip photo.

Switch Hardflip: Thrasher - December 1994 Volume 14 Number 12

Performed Daily: Thrasher - September 1995 Volume 15 Number 9

For the Gonz quote: Transworld - November 1994 Volume 12 Number 11

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mark Gonzales #19.

Not the smallest, but definitely the most homemade company.

Did Mark start the throwback craze?

Thrasher - November 1995 Volume 15 Number 11

Friday, March 6, 2015

Katadisu Silisaka.

Y'all got the weekend to think about this one.

I'm guessing the kid won a stencil and Ron took pictures of him. The dog attack is just bizarre.

The photos are by Ron Chatman.

Thrasher - June 1995 Volume 15 Number 6

Thursday, March 5, 2015

John Deago #3.

"John Deago - Nor Cal ripper."

John rode for H-Street, Life, Real, Stereo, and Sixty Forty. He was tearing up the streets with a lot of moves that still hold up today in Life's A Soldier's Story video all the way back in 1991.

In modern day skateboarding, it appears Adrian Lopez has rejoined Zero after pulling one of his famous disappearing acts. Shane O'Neil's new video clip makes me like him a little bit. He toned down the tech to comprehensible levels and went Pat Duffy in the rain a couple of times. Bill Strobeck released a new thee minute segment for Supreme called The Red Devil. It's got a whole lot of the Fucking Awesome team, including a solid line from Anthony Van Engelen.

Sean Dolinsky took the photo.

Thrasher - August 1995 Volume 15 Number 8

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jay "SAD" Stephens #2.

The man known as SAD.

SAD stands for Simple As Death. Jay rode for Sixty Forty and then Arcade. He was also on Grind King Trucks and Stamina Clothing. SAD was rather eccentric, sported a Fu Manchu mustache, and would sometimes skate with a towel in his hand. He had massive pop and could get up on really tall ledges, too.

Thrasher - May 1995 Volume 15 Number 5

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

George Morales.

Ah, the 1990s when everybody was doing slick sports car inspired graphics.

George is from LA. He also rode for Focus and Milk. That's all I got.

Thrasher - February 1995 Volume 15 Number 2

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sixty Forty Team 1995.

Glasses for your feet.

It's going to be seven days of Sixty Forty ads from 1995.

After Mark Gonzales left Blind in 1992, he started ATM Click with John Falahee at S.O.P. in 1993. In 1994, Gonz took things over to Richard Metiver at Union Wheels and Sixty Forty was born. He also started the clothing company Kools. Ron Chatman was an important part of Sixty Forty and helped out with the behind the scenes stuff as well. Ron stuck with it when Mark left for Real. The team included Jay Stephens, Gino Perez, George Morales, Steven Cales, Florentine Marfaing, John Deago and Doug Diaz.

Thrasher - March 1995 Volume 15 Number 3